BYOD users worry employers can't keep private data safe

Workplace smartphone and tablet users worry a lot about their personal information remaining private from their employers – and only a slim majority trusts their employer to keep that data safe, according to a Harris Poll survey released today, which was commissioned by MDM vendor MobileIron.

Workplace smartphone and tablet users worry a lot about their personal information remaining private from their employers and only a relatively slim majority trusts their employer to keep that data safe, according to a Harris Poll survey released today, which was commissioned by MDM vendor MobileIron.

Just 61% of the more than 3,500 mobile workers surveyed respondents came from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Japan said that they believed their employers could keep their personal information private. About half said that they would be uncomfortable with their employer seeing personal emails, contacts and text messages.

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MobileIron strategy vice president Ojas Rege said that the results underline the importance of privacy to the modern mobile worker.

"Mobile workers, especially younger workers, have an expectation of privacy when using mobile devices for work," he said in a statement accompanying the survey. "Many would leave their jobs if their employer could see personal information on their device."

Indeed, 30% said that they would do exactly that if their employer was able to view their personal data. However, the survey seemed to indicate that younger workers were more comfortable, not less, with their employer accessing personal information. Compared to older respondents, younger ones or, importantly, respondents with children in their households were less likely to have a problem with employers having access to at least some personal data on their own devices.

In addition to the privacy data, the study found that 86% of workplace mobile phone users were using their own devices, compared to just 37% of tablet users, suggesting that smartphones are the key consideration for workplaces preparing for BYOD.

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